Holiday stress is everywhere! Of course your stress increases at the holidays! You’re a parent. You can find many articles, blogs, podcasts and videos about ways to deal with your stress. As a parent, the way you react to stress affects the whole family.
Your kids are watching you closely. So, let’s start dealing with stress by FIRST thinking about YOU.
Once you focus on yourself, you are better prepared to really figure out how to relieve and cope with your own stress. There are many different ways to self-reflect and discover more about who you are.
Let’s look at some ways for you to better understand yourself so that you can manage your holiday stress. You deserve to enjoy the season.
Are you more of an introvert? If so, you probably seek out solitude. You enjoy being alone, reading a good book, watching a show or just having down time. So to relieve stress you need to make sure you have enough of those times in the days ahead.
Some ways people with tendencies towards being an introvert can battle stress are to take a walk alone. Being in nature is a great stress reliever. Perhaps reading is helpful for you, but spending lots of time reading isn’t in the cards right now. Allow yourself an hour to read, or read a chapter or two of your favorite book. These activities will help you reduce your stress.
What if you’re more of an extrovert? You need to relieve your stress too, but not in the same way. Extroverts find energy in being with people, but this can also be exhausting and demanding. Finding ways to include people in your stress relief helps the extroverts.
Taking walks in nature are great for everyone, so take a walk with a friend or family member. If reading is your stress reliever, take your book to the bookstore or coffee shop. Call or visit a friend you’ve been meaning to see, but haven’t made time for. Amazingly, this is energizing for an extrovert.
Whether you have tendencies towards extrovert or introvert, reflect on what helps you to feel relaxed and use that knowledge to make time for yourself. You’ll feel much more productive.
Another way to get to know yourself better is through Clifton Strengths (formerly known as Strength Finders.) Using this assessment tool, you find out your talents and strengths in order to better relate to others at work and at home. Understanding your strengths and talents can also help you to cope with stress in your life.
Knowing your strengths helps you identify why something is causing you stress. If your strength is to be an Arranger, then you may struggle if things aren’t coming together well for your celebrations. It helps to understand why we are stressed.
If your strength is Achiever, you are going to be less stressed if you can see progress towards a goal. You probably feel better when the items on your list are getting crossed off! If Harmony is your strength, you feel less stress when things are peaceful. Playing soothing music may help create the calm you enjoy.
Use your strengths to plan ways to bring more calm to your life and reduce holiday stress.
Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, helps countless people to better understand their spouses, children and co-workers. It can also help to relieve stress. When we love and feel loved we are less stressed out.
Once you know your own love language you can use that to de-stress. If Quality Time is your Love Language, then take a break and spend Quality Time with a loved one. Perhaps your language is Physical Touch. Seek out ways to give and receive enough physical touch so that your needs are met.
You can also use Love Languages to relieve stress by showing love to others. Think of your closest family and friends. Do you know their Love Language? If so, show them your love. It feeds your soul and reduces your stress.
The personality typing of Enneagram gives you great insight into the stress in your life. There are 9 personality types and each one deals with anxiety in unique ways. Your Enneagram type uncovers how you believe the world works, how you find love and how you find safety. Feeling loved and safe are great ways to relieve stress.
With the help of an Enneagram coach you can discover your personality type and begin to understand the motivation behind your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Knowledge of self is the first step to battling stress in your life. If you are interested in learning more about Enneagrams, you should connect with Danielle Allen at One Foot Coaching.
Maybe you’d rather just plow through the holiday season looking forward to when it’s over. But wouldn’t it be more fun to really enjoy it. So, why not learn to reduce your stress. Your family, friends and co-workers will appreciate it!
There’s a famous Christmas song telling kids to behave because Santa is watching. Well, there’s someone watching you too! And it’s your kids.
They are watching how you handle stress and learning from it. Do you want them to see someone who copes well or someone who crumbles?
Show your kids how you use your strengths, talents, personality and love to cope with whatever life brings you. You’ve got this!
Hopefully you see yourself in at least one of the examples above. So plan to use that knowledge to your benefit. You CAN deal with holiday stress and really enjoy the reason for the season!
Parent Reactions To Holiday Stress
By Lisa Reichelt M.Ed., Parent Coach